Human Appeal in Lebanon December 2015
by Ibrahim Al-Kadoo
It was with a heavy heart that I travelled to Lebanon on Friday night. Not knowing what the situation was on the ground and little news as to the future of those who have fled their homeland 3 years ago, I had a sense of optimism, hoping that the plight of the Syrians will be better than my last visit to the Turkish border in 2013. I wanted to go for myself and see the harsh reality of the Syrians, but what I was to see was beyond my imagination and in comprehendible, for the basics of daily life were still out of reach for these people.
With only an hours sleep and 3 hour car drive, not that I had any right to complain, we arrived at Arsal, a border town on the Lebanese side. To my surprise the previous population of the village was 40,000 inhabitants to which it had become a camp ridden population of 150,000. Shockingly, I learnt that these people were under siege from both sides of the border and neither could go back home nor enter Lebanon, so the only supplies that would reach were of AID agencies and due to the difficulty of entry to the area, this was obviously scarce.
The Syrian’s being a proud nation; would never beg but were grateful for the help provided by Human Appeal Ireland. The distribution of petrol canisters to approx. 500 families made a difference, however again to our surprise this would only last 5 days or so between cooking, heating and melting the frozen water overnight. Indeed, the temperatures would reach -6 degrees in this mountainous region with nothing but blankets, a thin mattress and rubble to keep them comfortable during the night.
When AID agencies arrive, they are seen as the saviour or at least we may feel like we are that way before we return to our lavish lives and by lavish I mean a roof over our head and food on the table. It is truly upsetting that we completely forget the people’s plight very soon after getting off the plane.
As an independent volunteer with Human Appeal Ireland, I must say that the funds raised are getting to the places that others won’t go. It is the duty of every person to help, as the world is one family.